What can you do to help with cat allergies
It is worth it to preserve the bond between you and your pet by checking if you are truly allergic to your pet and, if you are, to attempt these solutions.
Join the large number of animal lovers who manage their allergies and live happily and healthily with their beloved pets.
Like people, our feline friends can develop allergies. This happens when their immune systems become sensitive to substances present in their surroundings. Known as allergens, these irritating substances may not annoy you or other animals in your home, but as your cat’s body tries to get rid of the offending substances, he might show every kinds of symptoms.
Because there is such a wide variety of allergens, cat allergies are generally divided into 3 main categories: flea allergy, environmental allergies (atopic dermatitis), and food allergy.
Flea allergy and environmental allergies – the ones that cause “hay fever” symptoms in humans – are the most common.
However, cats often own multiple allergies, so a thorough examination by your veterinarian or veterinary dermatologist is recommended.
Allergic kitties are often extremely itchy and own skin problems associated with allergic dermatitis. They also might exhibit some of these symptoms:
- Ear infections
- Sneezing, coughing, and wheezing – especially if the cat has asthma
- Itchy, runny eyes
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Snoring caused by an inflamed throat
- Paw chewing or swollen, sensitive paws
There are a variety of allergens that cause these symptoms:
- Perfumes and colognes
- Pollen, grass, plants, mold, mildew, and other organic substances
- Household cleaning products
- Fleas or flea-control products
- Prescription drugs
- Some cat litters
Gastrointestinal symptoms generally accompany a food allergy, so it is significant to avoid feeding your cat food to which he or she has a known allergy.
Also, allergies tend to be more common among outdoor cats because they are exposed to a wider range of potential allergens, especially from plants and organic matter.
If something appears to be making your kitty miserable, the best thing to do is pay your veterinarian a visit. He or she will initially do a finish history and physical exam for your cat to determine the source of the allergies.
If your vet suspects your cat has allergies, he might desire to act out blood tests or experiment with your kitty’s diet to narrow below the cause.
Or, if your vet thinks your cat has a skin allergy, your cat might be referred to a veterinary dermatologist.
Treatment & Prevention
The best way to treat your cat’s allergies is to remove the allergens from his or her environment. For instance, if your cat’s allergies are caused by fleas, using veterinarian-recommended flea and tick preventatives can eliminate the cause. If the problem is cat litter, substituting your normal litter for a dust-free alternative could do the trick. In fact, this might assist correct a bigger problem if your cat’s been missing his or her litter box.
When it comes to pollen, fungus, mold, or dust, bathing your cat a couple of times per week can assist alleviate itching.
Your veterinarian can recommend an appropriate shampoo to assist you avoid drying out your cat’s skin.
A diagnosis of food allergies may require you to provide your cat with a prescription diet or even home-cooked meals free of the offending allergens. Your veterinarian will provide recommendations as to the best course of action. It is possible that your cat will need dietary supplements to ensure he gets every the vital nutrients he needs.
Medication is sometimes prescribed for cats in case certain allergens cannot be removed from the environment.
- Cortisone, steroids or allergy injections for airborne pollens
- Antihistamines as a preventative
- Flea prevention products
How do allergies affect asthma?
If your cat is allergic to environmental pollutants, it may worsen your cat’s asthma. In this case, your vet may prescribe medications that open your cat’s airway for the short-term; endless term solutions include corticosteroids. And here’s a excellent reminder: cigarette smoke is bad for your cat, especially if your cat has asthma.
If you own any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian – they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.
Cat lovers who sneeze and sniffle around their feline friends might one day discover at least partial relief in a can of cat food.
New research suggests that feeding cats an antibody to the major allergy-causing protein in cats renders some of the protein, called Fel d1, unrecognizable to the human immune system, reducing an allergic response.
After 105 cats were fed the antibody for 10 weeks, the quantity of athletic Fel d1 protein on the cats’ hair dropped by 47 percent on average, researchers from pet food–maker Nestlé Purina report in the June Immunity, Inflammation and Disease.
And in a little pilot study, 11 people allergic to cats experienced substantially reduced nasal symptoms and less itchy, scratchy eyes when exposed in a test chamber to hair from cats fed the antibody diet, compared with cats fed a control diet.
The preliminary findings were presented in Lisbon, Portugal at the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology Congress in June.
The Fel d1 protein is produced in cats’ salivary and sebaceous glands. Cats transfer the protein to their hair when they groom by licking themselves and excrete it in their urine. Humans are then exposed to it on cat hair and dander — dead skin — or in the litter box. Cat allergies plague up to 20 percent of people, and Fel d1 is responsible for 95 percent of allergic reactions to cats.
Doctors can’t give humans antibodies orally because the molecules are broken below in the gut and never reach their targets, says Michael Blaiss, executive medical director of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology and an allergist and immunologist at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta.
So Purina’s approach to the cat allergy problem is exciting and unusual, he says.
In cats, the antibody to Fel d1 — which is derived from eggs and added to cat food — has its effect in the mouth, neutralizing the protein in saliva, says Ebenezer Satyaraj, director of molecular nutrition at Purina. This way, the antibody disables Fel d1 “after its production by the cat, but before it spreads to the cat’s hair and dander — and before a response occurs in an individual sensitized to cat allergens,” says Satyaraj, who is leading the cat allergen research.
Since the role of Fel d1 in cat physiology is unknown, this approach doesn’t interfere with the normal production of Fel d1 by the cat, Satyaraj says.
So far, he adds, safety tests own found no harm to cats fed the antibody.
Blaiss expects that the new treatment may assist people with mild cat allergies. But those with severe symptoms are unlikely to discover relief from cutting the quantity of athletic allergen only in half. Some people can’t tolerate any quantity of the protein without symptoms, he says. What’s more, diverse cats can produce wildly varying amounts of Fel d1 naturally. “So it just depends on the [Fel d1] levels of the cat and the symptomology of the patient,” he says.
In addition, Fel d1 is known to be a “sticky” protein, Blaiss says.
It tends to stick around and accumulate in the home over time. So even with feeding a cat the antibody-laced food, “it could just take more time to build to a level that triggers an allergic reaction.”
Purina is not yet offering products containing the antibody, Satyaraj says, but plans further research to determine its effectiveness for reducing cat allergens in the home.
Questions or comments on this article? E-mail us at [email protected]
A version of this article appears in the August 31, 2019 issue of Science News.
Allergies to cats are one of the most common allergies among individuals.
Among the eight known cat allergens, the most prominent allergen is secretoglobinFel d 1, and it is produced in the anal glands, salivary glands, and, mainly, in sebaceous glands of cats, and is ubiquitous in the United States, even in households without cats. Allergic symptoms associated with cats include coughing, wheezing, chest tightening, itching, nasal congestion, rash, watering eyes, sneezing, chapped lips, and similar symptoms. In worst case scenarios, allergies to cats can develop into more life-threatening conditions such as rhinitis and mild to severe forms of asthma. Despite these symptoms, there are numerous types of solutions to mitigate the allergic effects of cats, including medications, vaccines, and home remedies.
Hypoallergenic cats are another solution for individuals who desire to pets without the allergic consequences. Furthermore, prospective pet owners can reduce allergic reactions by selecting cats of a specific gender or color, which are associated with a lower production of allergens.
Reduce the allergens and your symptoms
If you are allergic to your pet and your reactions aren’t life-threatening, there are numerous ways to reduce indoor allergens and allergy symptoms so you and your pet can live together more comfortably.
If your or a family member’s allergies are simply miserable, but not life-threatening, take these five steps to reduce the symptoms:
1. Create an «allergy free» zone in your home—preferably the allergic person’s bedroom—and strictly prohibit the pet’s access to it.
Use a high-efficiency HEPA air cleaner, and consider using impermeable covers for the mattress and pillows.
2. Use HEPA air cleaners throughout the relax of the home, and avoid dust-and-dander-catching furnishings such as cloth curtains and blinds and carpeted floors. Clean frequently and thoroughly to remove dust and dander, washing articles such as sofa covers and pillows, curtains, and pet beds.
3. Bathe your pet on a weekly basis to reduce the level of allergy-causing dander (shed ancient skin cells).
Cats can get used to being bathed, but it’s critical to only use products labeled for them; kittens may need a shampoo safe for kittens. Check with your veterinarian’s staff or a excellent book on pet care for directions about safe bathing, It’s a excellent thought to use a shampoo recommended by your veterinarian or other animal care professional.
4. Don’t be quick to blame the family pet for allergies. Enquire your allergist to specifically test for allergies to pet dander. Numerous allergy sufferers are sensitive to more than one allergen.
Reduce the overall allergen level in your environment by concentrating on every of the causes, not just the pet allergy.
5. Attempt treatments. Additional treatments for allergies to pets are include immunotherapy (allergy shots), steroidal and antihistamine nose sprays and antihistamine pills. It is significant to discover an allergist who understands your commitment to living with your pet. A combination of approaches—medical control of symptoms, excellent housecleaning methods, and immunotherapy—is most likely to succeed in allowing an allergic person to live with pets.
Symptoms of an allergic reaction to cats range from mild to severe, and include swollen, red, itchy, and watery eyes; nasal congestion, itchy nose, sneezing, chronic sore throat or itchy throat, coughing, wheezing, asthma, hay fever, hives or rash on the face or chest, or itchy skin.
If a cat has scratched, licked, or bitten someone who is allergic to cats, redness and sometimes even swelling of the affected area will happen. For those severely allergic, a reaction may resemble that of someone with a severe food allergy, and such reactions require emergency medical care.
Eight cat allergens own been recognized by the World Health Organization/International Union of Immunological Societies (WHO/IUIS) Allergen Nomenclature Sub‐Committee. Fel d 1 is the most prominent cat allergen, accounting for 96% of human cat allergies. The remaining cat allergens are Fel d 2-8, with Fel d 4, an urinary protein, occurring the most in humans among the other seven allergens.
Every cats produce Fel d 1 including hypoallergenic cats. The main way these allergens are spread is through a cat’s saliva or dander, which gets stuck on clothing. A study found that 63% of people allergic to cats own antibodies against Fel d 4.
Fel d 1
Fel d 1 is the most dominant cat allergen.
It is part of the secretoglobulin family, which are proteins found only in mammals. Fel d 1 is primarily secreted through the sebaceous glands and can be found on the skin and fur of a cat. It is less commonly secreted through the salivary gland, lacrimal glands, skin and anal glands.
Fel d 4 and Fel d 7
Fel d 4 and Fel d 7 are cat lipocalins. Fel d 4 and Fel d 7 are one of the most common cat allergens after Fel d 1. Fel d 4 is primarily found in cats’ saliva and is associated with atopic dermatitis in children with cat allergies.
Body’s response to the allergen
As the allergen enters through the nose or mouth, antigen cells analyze the allergen and present antigenic peptides to helper T cells. The helper T cells acquire a type 2 phenotype (Th2) and produce IgE due the presence of specific cytokines.
If Th2 is expressed too much, the symptoms of cat allergies appear. Inhaled cat allergens will activate mast cells, causing coughing, increased mucous production, and airway constriction.
Understand your pet allergies
It is significant to see a doctor and be tested to determine what allergies you actually own. You may discover that you’re allergic to something else and not your pet at all! For example, you may assume that you are allergic to your beloved dog, only to discover out through an allergy test that you’re actually allergic to a specific tree pollen that got on his fur during a stroll together, and that’s actually what’s bothering you.
If an allergy test shows that you are allergic to your pet, it is significant to understand what causes your allergic reaction to them.
There are allergy-triggering proteins called allergens in saliva and skin glands that cling to an animal’s dry skin (dander) and fur. The fur and dander then stick to walls, carpets and clothing.
The reaction of someone to these allergens is diverse from one person to the next. The reaction may range from mild sniffling and sneezing to life-threatening asthma. The reaction can be made worse if a person is additionally exposed to other things he is allergic too, such as pollen, dust mites, cigarette smoke, and mold.
Whether someone has an allergic reaction depends on both the individual person and the individual animal.
A person with animal allergies may react less to dogs with soft, constantly growing hair, or one specific cat or dog may cause more or less of an allergic reaction than another animal of that same breed.
You may hear claims about breeds of dogs and cats that are non-allergenic (don’t cause an allergic reaction) or cats and dogs that are hypoallergenic (cause less of an allergic reaction). However, even hairless breeds may cause a severe allergic reaction.